Wed Feb 23 06:29pm EST
Quite the heel turn for Scottie Upshall(notes) last night against his former team, the Philadelphia Flyers. The Phoenix Coyotes forward, well-liked during his time in Philly, drilled defenseman Oskars Bartulis(notes) with this hit in the second period; earning two minutes for boarding, boos from the Flyers fans and now a 2-game suspension from the NHL.
From the NHL
Phoenix Coyotes left wing Scottie Upshall has been suspended for two games and will forfeit $24,193.54 for an illegal hit delivered to Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Oskars Bartulis in NHL game #895 last night, the National Hockey League announced today. The incident occurred at 0:17 of the second period. Upshall hit an unsuspecting Bartulis, who was injured on the play. Upshall was assessed a minor penalty for boarding.
Upshall's fine is based on his average annual salary and is calculated under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund. Upshall will miss the Coyotes' next two games -- tonight at Tampa Bay and Friday at Columbus. He will be eligible to return Sunday at Chicago.
We imagine "who was injured on the play" was the operative phrase in this suspension, as that injury was a topic of conversation for the Flyers after their 3-2 overtime loss to the Coyotes.
"You know I was just going hard to the net; I couldn't see where the puck was actually. I didn't intentionally go to hit him or drive him into the boards. I think he was kind of off balance," Upshall said about the hit. "It was just a routine shoulder-to-shoulder play going hard to the net and I hope he's alright."
Paul Holmgren saw it differently, "You know, Oskars was just standing there minding his own business. It was a late hit but it depends on how Oskars is. I guess I have a little bit of a problem with it, yeah. It's not really like Scottie to do that, but things happen."
Upshall's correct that it's shoulder-to-shoulder and that the way Bartulis hit the boards caused the injury. But the hit nearly occurred after the second whistle; way late. (Didn't it almost look like Upshall was clearing the crease for Sergei Bobrovsky(notes)? Momentary lapse in loyalty?)
Do you agree or disagree with this one? Last night, he deserved more than two minutes for the lateness of the hit, that's for sure. Wonder if he would have gotten it, or a longer suspension, had he been wearing his old orange-and-black getup?